Saturday, August 21, 2010

Brass Cannon

"There is nothing -- absolutely nothing -- half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats." -- Kenneth Grahame

Yesterday afternoon Lachlan and I walked down to the Community Store...just to sit for a spell on the porch and chat with people. Ignatious was there (he's dyed his mohawk brunette), and various other people walked by. After a while Cyrus (Captain Rob's brother-in-law) came up on the porch. He was waiting for the Windfall to return to the dock with his seven year old son Elias and several other kids. He told me how much Elias enjoyed my Wednesday evening story of the rescue of six sailors from the wrecked three masted schooner Sarah D. J. Rawson in 1905.

Lachlan and I walked down on the dock when we spied the Windfall. I'll be sailing with Rob and his son Emmet in October in the Great Chesapeake Bay Schooner Race. They wanted to show me their new brass cannon (an important complement on a racing schooner, especially for saluting other vessels during the parade of sails). In a few minutes we were pulling away from the dock, headed out into the sound.

We weren't gone long...just long enough to get far enough away from the village before firing the cannon. Emmet loaded the blank cartridge, we put our fingers in our ears, and he struck the firing pin. Ka-boom!

The cannon is not very big (you can hold it in the palms of your hands), but it carries a powerful punch. Lachlan was impressed!

"There is nothing -- absolutely nothing -- half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats."

This month's Ocracoke Newsletter, Looking for the Wahabs of Ocracoke, was written by Dr. James Zogby, president of the Arab American Institute. You can read the article here:


  1. Anonymous9:17 AM

    Philip, I go to this web-site nearly every morning to read what new and exciting tidbit you will share with us mainlanders about daily life on Ocracoke!

    This practice of reading your interesting blogs (as well as watching the ferry boats depart via Ocracoke Harbor Inn Silver Lake web-cam) has become, in a sense, a ritual for me. I include it after my prayer and devotional time w/ the Lord. It's all a lovely, meaningful way to begin my day!

    Can't wait to hear about your upcoming sailing excusion in October! Be sure to include pics!
    I can almost hear the BOOM from the cannon now!

  2. Anonymous9:23 AM

    Are you serious? The cannon can fit in the palm of your hand???? And, it has a powerful blast?

  3. The cannon employs a shotgun-size shell (blank, of course), so it packs a wollop. The kickback threw the cannon back into the cockpit. Without the lanyard that Rob used to secure it to the boat it might have ended up overboard!

  4. Anonymous12:54 PM

    To the first poster in this thread, would you please supply the link of the webcam you referenced? Thank you.

    --A fellow daily reader

  5. Anonymous2:41 PM

    Yes, I just go to Ocracoke Harbor Inn web-site (home page) and across the top, you'll notice Silver Lake Web-Cam. Simply click it and in a few seconds, you'll be watching live views of beautiful Silver Lake Harbor. I just looked at it and noticed a guy standing at the end of the pier looking at the boats.

    As you probably know, the Cedar Island and Swan Quarter ferry boats arrive/depart at various times. Some departures are 7:00 a.m.;Noon;4:30 p.m.;6:00 p.m. If it's dark, you won't be able to see anything except tiny lights.

    Hope this info helps! If you are a mainlander, like I am, you will so enjoy the web-cam! I've used it for well over a year now. It's "almost" like being on the island in person!

    Best wishes to you!

  6. Anonymous7:44 AM

    Thanks for reminding me of Wind in the Willows!

  7. Here is the direct link to the Silver Lake webcam --

    It may save you a click or two on your mouse.